Prospecting the Prospects: Lucas Moura

This is our “prospecting the prospects” series, where we run the rule over lots of FPL prospects who will enter the game as the transfer window newcomers arrive. This series analyses a selection of these newcomers to the FPL game by simulating how they would have performed using the season’s stats so far (wherever they played) as if they had been in FPL, then providing our evaluation of the player as an asset ahead of the coming period.

We have already looked at Aubameyang, Cenk TosunGuido Carillo and Aymeric Laporte during the January transfer window.

On 31st January, Spurs announced the signing of Brazilian Lucas Moura from PSG. He reportedly cost the North London club £21m:

Predominately a right winger, Lucas started his career with Sao Paulo in his native Brazil before moving to Paris during the winter transfer window in 2012. He has been the main casualty of Neymar’s record-busting transfer in the summer to the Parc de Princes, being on the subs bench for the majority of this season so far. Before that, though, he was regular in the first team for the French champions. He’s scored 33 goals and supplied 27 assists during his time with PSG.

Since Lucas has not appeared for his side much this season, we’ve used his 2016/17 stats courtesy of Squawka to assess just how good an FPL prospect he might be.

Prospecting the prospect (using last season’s data)

Appearances: 37 appearances (29 over 60 mins, 8 times sub on/off) = 66 points

Goals: 12 goals (5×12) = 60 points

Assists: 5 assist (5×3) = 15 points

Clean sheets: 17 = 17 points

Bonus: To give an estimation of the bonus points he would have got, we’ve reviewed the games he would have delivered points in to come to a rough number. We’ve done this by researching all the games and allocating probable bonus depending on how well he did.

Goals: Lucas scored the winning goal on 3 occasions giving him 4 bonus. He changed the result (e.g. equalised) on 3 occasions, giving him a further 2 bonus from those games. He contributed (e.g. added a 3rd in a 3-0) in 5 games, including a brace against St Etienne on 14th May: for that brace, he’d have gotten 3, but for the remainder he was scoring things like the 5th goal in a 5-0 meaning no bonus. A total of 9 for goals.

Assists: Lucas assisted 2 winning goals, which may have seen him pushing for 1-2 bonus points – let’s give him 2. He assisted a contributing goal on 3 other occasions, however 2 of these were in the last minutes of the bench. Still on 2.

Total guesstimated bonus = 11 points

Disciplinary = Nil

Scores on the doors

169 points for last season, which would have put him in the top 20 FPL players, 2 ahead of Mesut Ozil and 1 behind Cesar “Dave” Azpilicueta. He played 2435 mins last season, which translates into 27 games on the pitch. This gives him – using our putative points total – a points per game of 6.2 which is pretty decent.

Evaluation

Will you want Moura him?

An interesting one, Lucas. The first thing to say is that it will be interesting to see how Mauricio Pochettino rejigs his side to fit in the Brazilian. This season has seen Son, Alli and Eriksen behind Kane. Could it be that Eriksen drops into the midfield pivot alongside either Dembele or Wanyama to accommodate Lucas?

It’s also worth nothing the connection between Serge Aurier and Lucas, with the Brazilian often being fielded on the same wing as the Ivorian for the the last couple of seasons. It remains to be seen whether that prior connection be resumed to good effect in the Premier League, but it can only help with adjustment. Poor old Trippier!

Looking at Lucas’ stats, what’s clear is that he offers something slightly different to Spurs’ existing wing option Son Heung Min. Comparing their 2016/17 data, Son took more shots last season than Lucas (80 v 66), though their accuracy was fairly similar at 55% and 56% respectively. This works out at a shot every 26 minutes for Son versus one every 37 for Lucas. Son’s shots ratio is impressive given that he played almost 400 minutes less than Lucas did, though the fact Lucas scored only two fewer goals than Son shows the Brazilian’s superior conversion rate.

What Lucas does provide over Son, though, is assist potential from the wing. Lucas created 56 chances last season compared to 43 for Son; at a per 90 ratio this translates into 1.5 chances created per game compared to Son’s 1.2. These chances are abundantly crosses: Whoscored data shows Lucas provided 1.4 crosses per game last season, which far exceeds Son’s paltry 0.2. Indeed, three of Lucas’ five assists came from floating over corners last term. In a similar vein, Lucas provided 49 key passes last season compared to just 37 for the Korean.

The picture that begins to emerge is one of an all-rounder; Lucas appears just as able to run to the byline and cross as he is to shoot himself, offering something different to what Spurs already have in the wide positions.

This brings us onto a second comparator, Riyad Mahrez. He’s another who can play on the wing that has moved to England from Ligue 1. Mahrez’s chance creation and key pass numbers (50 and 47) near enough match Lucas’ outputs, though the Algerian took more shots (76 v 66) than the Brazilian  The difference, once more, is crossing: Mahrez provided 0.7 crosses per game last term, which is half of Lucas’ output.

The player who most matches Lucas I could find is actually his fellow countryman Willian – in terms of overall chances created, they’re very close (Lucas 54 to Willian’s 51), and in terms of shots per 90 they are on a real par (2.5 for Lucas, 2.6 for Willian). Similarly, Willian’s cross ratio of 1.0 per game is not far off Lucas’ 1.4, and if moderated for time actually played, is on a par once more. Lucas’ shooting is better than Willian’s, though, with the former PSG man’s 55% shot accuracy for last season dwarfing the Chelsea man’s 44%.

So what we can learn from this is that we have an effective performer on our hands who seems a bit of an all rounder: he’s equally able to provide chances for others as he is having a go himself.

What he will have to shake, though, is anecdotal evidence about wastefulness: I couldn’t find any data on cross completion, but Spurs will be hoping accusations of this (alongside descriptions of him as the “Brazilian Walcott”) will be dispelled as he starts afresh in North London.

In any case, his on-pitch style would seem to fit Spurs’ brand of attacking football well, with Kane a target in the middle for crosses, or interplay with Alli, Eriksen et al an option if he were trying to fashion chances himself.As mentioned, the pre-existing relationship with Aurier on the overlap could also prove vital in terms of getting him settled in quickly.

Much will depend on his adaptation to the Premier League from the less physical French league, but if he can acclimatise quickly he could well be one of those who delivers regularly should he cement a place in Pochettino’s side.

The fixtures until the end of the season look decent for Spurs, particularly after the Gameweek 27 North London Derby.

With Kane a nailed presence in many squads, it’ll be a question of if there is enough evidence to persuade managers to put another Spur into their side. Whether it is Lucas hinges on the price (to be updated later) and also form of other options, especially with the likes of Salah and Sterling immune from selling thoughts currently.

The 8.0 price point is very generous.

Overall, much depends on whether he ends up being a nailed-on option like Alli or Eriksen or a member of the rotating support cast. If he can be an established member of the first team, he could well be a great option for managers looking for an alternative to the midfield template, with his ability to both lay on goals and score them himself clear from the analysis.

Overall rating: 3.5 / 5 – An above average prospect for FPL (for the rest of this season, at least!)

*derived from a completely subjective scale from 1-5, where 1 is bad and 5 is excellent

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